Saturday, August 29, 2015


The content of this post is not fiber read on or not...obviously it's up to you....

The main reason for my current San Francisco Grandma trip was to help our son's family as they begin to vacate their 100 year old house in preparation for a whole house remodel.  With all the tech companies in this area.....the city (where all the young folks want to live) is experiencing another gold rush.  The lack of housing, combined with big tech salaries has turned properties into precious commodities.

The city's rules and regulations in regard to building of any sort are extreme (and might I add ridiculous).  Historic homes, even if they are almost uninhabitable, can not be razed.  Instead you'll see houses taken down to the framework, surrounded by scaffolding, and tented to help protect the environment from the debris.

Here are two examples of homes within a block of our son's house.  In his case, the architecture and permitting process has taken 3 long years and when actually underway, it will take a minimum of 12 months before it's completed.  This endeavor is definitely not for the faint of heart.....and with a 3 year old, another due in a month, a new job for DIL, and a major promotion for our son, I'm truly in awe!

Friday, August 28, 2015


Stamping is fun.....especially when we stamp our face at Grandma's art camp! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Sometimes (well...quite often) I charge through life, rather than taking sufficient time to really look at what's around me.  So, I'm popping in today to share two photos I took recently.
 I'd put this in the naughty for the body category!!
And this is definitely in the 'aww, how thoughtful category.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Work continues on the Oregon theme wedding wall quilt for my nephew.  He and his soon to be bride enjoy many outdoor activities in their Portland, OR surroundings.....hopefully, this quilt will bring a little of those memories into their new home.

Though I thought I was nearly finished.....I keep tweaking the design....trying to add interesting little details without detracting from the main elements.

So I found myself cutting and attaching tiny ferns along one side of the river.  After viewing them (without the pins holding each piece), it was apparent the color needed to be toned down a bit.  Dang....

What to do?!?  The pieces are already ON the quilt so whatever I do can't migrate to the background.  After a bit of pondering, out came a pad of Distress Ink. Using a Q-tip.....I carefully and very lightly went over the offending ferns.  Of course it would have been smarter of me to make that adjustment prior to attaching the pieces to the quilt.....however, sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees until you are right there!

I'll be somewhat absent again for a week+ as I head to CA to be Grandma!!  (Unless I can figure out how to blog from my older ipad........but then you'll be bombarded with pictures of the most adorable 3 year old ever!!!)  Back before you even can miss me!!

Friday, August 21, 2015


I'm not a gadget gal.....of course I appreciate good tools but I def. don't try every new 'must have' product.  And, I'm not especially a fan of raw edge appliqué. Bascially, I'm old school but there are times when raw edge appliqué makes sense.
 This product certainly swayed my thinking and it's one you must have in your sewing room.  My friend Linda Cantrell introduced me to Fray Block, made by June Tailor.  (I purchased it online via JoAnne Fabrics).

This is FAR superior to Fray Check and the other products most of us are already familiar with.  It truly works, it's clear, DOES NOT stain your fabric or change its hand.  Amazing!!    
 Linda suggested squirting some into a small container and applying with a tiny brush because it comes out of the tube way too quickly.  The instructions call for placing the tube under hot running water for 3 mins. before using....Linda doesn't.
Though today was a bit chilly and I could see tiny particles in the liquid that normally aren't there. So I did as instructed, heating this product will assure it's clear when it's applied (and I assume also stain free!)  Look how clean the fabric edge is after machine appliqueing.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


A friend shared this photo of her Mom, Dorothy Kachur, who LOVES to dance.  Who'd think at AGE 95 she'd still be shaking her hips with 'Elvis'!?!  

Is there a lesson here?  Yes, keep moving....what a great role model!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Our PTA (Professional Textile Artists) group meets once a month.  As is typical of larger groups like this, not every member can make it to every meeting......but we have a pretty hard and fast rule.....we meet the 2nd Thurs. of the month, whoever can come, does.  

Apparently there's been a lot of discussion lately online about how best to structure a small/smallish fiber group.  Such as, should the group be open or by invitation, the number of members, set meeting dates or flexible, should the focus be defined, etc.  Our PTA group has been in existence (I'm guessing) for close to 20 years. Naturally, there have been some changes in membership, thankfully I was invited to join when I moved to NC 9 years ago.

Regular readers of my blog know that I actively participate in two smaller groups, though I belong to several others.  In Fiber Junkies (the one I started about 8 years ago), 6 of us meet monthly in members homes for the purpose of experimenting with new techniques. We coordinate our meeting dates to fit everyone's sometimes our meetings are 5 weeks apart, other times only 3....but it works for us. 

PTA meets monthly, usually in members homes, without a set agenda.  This year we've tried something new.  Each member was responsible for planning one monthly meeting.  We have 14 members, one lives in FL and one is dealing with some heath issues..... so the 12 months were easily assigned. 

This month Barbara hosted....we began at her house for coffee, discuss planning an exhibit, show and tell etc.  She did a lot of preparation for this fun mapping various local areas of interest for us to visit after our bag lunch on her porch.  An Amish shop, creamery, ice cream store, local brewery etc. were on the list.  Even members who live in this specific area had not visited all these interesting places.  

The intro to today's post may be too long, but since 'small groups' have been such a hot topic online lately, perhaps it is of interest to some of you.
Now...back to the fiber portion of the blog.  Georgia Bonesteel (Yes, THE Georgia Bonesteel) is a member of our group.  She brought two workshop samples that she'll be teaching at an annual ranch retreat in Montana that she organizes with Charlotte Warr Anderson.
This one featured 3-D antlers....stiffened with Timtex.
A neighbor of Georgia's owns this vintage quilt that was hand pieced but machine quilted....Stunning design, even with all the fading and less than perfect piecing.
What blew Georgia away was the was lap quilted!!!  So many quilters got their start by watching her PBS show, Lap Quilting With Georgia.  It's amazing to see such an old quilt that utilized this technique......I guess there's nothing that is really ever new!!
Dort is working on a series of blocks that feature her Scottish heritage....which may be worked into one quilt or displayed as panels.  
She has such a knack for this type of landscape/scenic pieces, excelling at combining prints to make them come to life.

I can't express enough what an impact these small groups have in my life.....having creative, inspiring friends is such a gift!

Monday, August 17, 2015


As I mentioned in my previous post....I came quite unprepared for our spray painting day..... you can see a loosely woven cotton that simply would not accept the paint.  OH I remember....I've used this fabric in the past.  For fabric dyeing of course it was scoured before use, as it had some sort of finish on it.....but I never gave that a thought for this technique.  Therefore, after all the lightly sprayed paint rolled off the fabric.....I picked up the darn thing and just wiped up the paint off the plastic.  Lovely, yes?!?
So instead, I decided not to thin the paint very much....and using some plastic cups and the pad of one finger.....circles were stamped onto the fabric....where they stayed!  Gen had this wonderful little circle stencil (right - just above the spray bottle)  We ALL loved it.  Getting very close to the fabric I sprayed through it.......
.......then turned it over and pressed the excess paint from the other side onto the fabric.  That stayed too....both on the fabric and my hands.  Oops....forgot to wear gloves!
After spraying through more resists and more stamping....I'm calling it done.  
Show and Tell was very exciting this month.  Kate and Denny had taken a weekend long paper collage workshop in the Greenville, SC area where they both live.  Here's Kate's true masterpiece.  This is all torn and layered paper....I wish I'd have gotten a good close up so you could see some of the VERY tiny pieces of paper she used to get such good depth and color.
Several members attended a vat dyeing workshop, unfortunately, I was out of town and missed the fun.  Vat dyeing is a method of dyeing fabric using a dye that won't discharge.  This silk scarf is Kate's project.
They began the workshop by stamping the dye on pieces of plain black fabric....then discharging the fabric.....  The entire process is quite involved and honestly, I didn't absorb all the steps they mentioned.....but I thought I'd throw the phrase 'vat' dyeing out there to see if anyone else has been playing with this method.
This is Judy's finished scarf......I'm flattered that she used one of the stencil designs (this one is cattails) that I created for Quilting Creations....and featured in my book "The Whole Cloth Garment Stori".
Denny, the queen of experimenting in our group, used a rayon scarf, rather than silk....her results were super too.  Though she had to overdye it since the vat dye process did not transfer to the back side.
Val dazzled us with several screen printed pieces.  She made the background during our July FJ meeting and used some of her large collection of tree screens to print the images.  Fabulous!!!
More fabulous!
Gen has been playing with paper lately too.  Her artistic talent is always evident and equally so here with this paper journal she's been creating.
An example of another page.....

That wraps up the Aug. Fiber Junkies report.  We hope to have one last messy outside experiment day next month before fall and winter sets in.......but we don't lack ideas for indoor experiments either.  Do grab some pals and have your own play date sometime soon.....

Sunday, August 16, 2015


The Fiber Junkies focus this month was experiment by spray painting fabric. The last couple of weeks have not been routine for me.....therefore my preparation for the day wasn't well thought my results were pitiful.
We are so lucky that member Val graciously hosts us during the summer months so we can get really messy.  After leaving her driveway covered with a bronze paint a year ago....this time it was covered with plastic.
 One of the dismal pieces I brought was a very pale hand dyed blue cotton.  After creating a simple grid design with painters tape..... was sprayed with thinned lime green and then bronze acrylic paint.  DREADFUL  yes?!?
 Next, using a rubber sink mat as a resist.....I sprayed the fabric with thinned black acrylic paint.....the yuck factor continued!
 Why I thought blue ferns would pull the design together is a mystery.......after adding a few I stopped. As is often the habit of our group.....when we totally dislike what we've done.....we pass it along to a willing member to rescue it.  Honestly, when the fabric's always transformed and we want it back!
 Here's an example of fabric being reworked......the section on the right had been created by look what she did on the left.   
 Denny is the queen of reworking fabric........she layers better than anyone I know......I wish I knew how many times these fabrics have been treated......but really does that matter?  We all loved the finished pieces.
Gen brought a product that I wasn't familiar's water color paint.....that's on heavy paper.  A wet paint brush is run over the paper....picking up the paint which she transferred to the white fabric at the top of this photo.

Stay tuned for more about our FJ play date. 

Friday, August 14, 2015


Many Midwest cities are steeped in Native American was my hometown.  I was so surprised at the amount of information that was pertinent to my interests that was available at the historical society. 
 Can you imagine stitching with this needle.....and in really was this large.
 BEADS?!?  Did someone say beads?!?
 The stunning Native American beadwork on display blew my mind......most featured very small seed beads....not the typical larger pony beads that we may all be familiar with.

Moving forward in time...this 1920's dentist office display reminded me why I HATE going to the dentist!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015


"The husband" is quite the race car cars mainly....sorry Nascar fans....we don't follow them.  I grew up in Wisconsin very close to one of the world's best race tracks....Road America.  I believe I've gone there once a year for nearly 50 years.

So....after driving for hours, and hours, and hours from the RAIN....we arrive in Wisconsin, and's still raining.  So instead of dealing with a total 'wife' revolt had we gone to the race track....we spent the day in my nearby hometown.  
 The historical society had an exhibit celebrating the 60th anniversary of Road's located blocks from where I lived so memories flooded back.  One was of my twin sister, who broke her leg as she tripped coming down the hill from the old water tower....just steps from this location...which was fairly remote in those days. I recall my Mom kept telling her it was a sprain....poor Nancy had to spend the whole night in pain before our parents took her to the ER for Xrays. was broken.....BAD..... 

The exhibit was not extensive, but for fans of Road America, it was interesting.
 Even now....race drivers are generally short and slim.......but their protection is vastly superior to this suit.

I do think that many fans go to the races to see crashes......we don't. We love to see good clean driving competition. (Though I may be reading my Kindle during much of the race). This spin out occurred right in front of where we were one was fact, after watching the TV play back (now that we are at home) was totally driver error....a little oops...

For us.....Porsche fans.....the ending was THRILLING.......They placed # 1 & #2.  The #2 car actually had problems with its engine during time trials.....and had a whole new engine put in overnight.  So it had to start at the very end of the pack....very LAST car!!  On the last lap he was in third place and YEAH....ended #2. 

Would I rather be sewing....probably....but a gal has to get along with 'the husband'......grinning....... 

Friday, August 7, 2015


I've had more than my share of hotel stays...and long time readers know I am an admitted hotel snob.  Noooooo, I don't expect to stay in 5 Star accommodations, however after many o'years of traveling the quilting highway, where (understandably) quilt guilds and even some conferences/symposiums select where an instructor stayed....I could tell you some hair raising stories.

Even nicer places can have their issues, which can drive someone like me who has major sleeping problems, well....crazy.  Things like dripping water faucets, a toilet that never stops emptying and refilling, bottom sheets that won't stay on the mattress, a coffee maker without coffee, and the dreaded hair dryer that is missing or not in working order.  AND GET THIS!!!  The alarm clock that some prankster set to go off at 3:00 AM!!!!

Long ago I got into a routine of doing a cursory check before I settled into a room.  I KNOW how crazy that sounds, but honestly it became fun.   I doubled checked on details like those mentioned above and made a room change if necessary.  There's nothing worse than standing with wet hair - no hair dryer and your deadline to get to the classroom approaches!  You get the idea.

Soon I developed a notebook rating system, like you might see for a movie or restaurant.  Based on 5 Stars...but I used icons for each subject instead.   At one event, I remember Ami Simms (I think it was Ami anyway) howling with laughter when she saw what I was doing.

For instance, quality of the TV = 1-5 rabbit ears📺 and taste of the coffee = 1-5 ☕️.  White gloves for cleanliness, and these: 🚽.   🚿.  One of my favorites was a 'bed pillow' rate the bed and quality and number of pillows.   I LOVE to make a nest of pillows when I sleep (or not sleep on those many restless nights I have).  I was in heaven last night with 5 pillows in my hotel.    

I no longer use that old notebook but can smile thinking about it.  It made me appreciate the special accommodations and laugh at the pitiful ones!

I can hardly believe I used to camp.....even tent camp on long bicycle days of porta potties, no running water, heck no ice maker are totally in the past.  There will not ever be any dorm stays in my future, no Motel Six, or to be honest....lower on the hotel chain than a Hampton Inn.....

What about you?  Hopefully, I'm not the only fussy one out and about?!?

PS - I have 4 bed pillows in my new location tonight and spied two more in the closet...ahhhhhh.